AAAC 30/5 Bach Trios; Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer

Things have been less than calm at La Maison Blanche over the past few months (DLA/PIP amongst other DWP issues), so I reach back towards the serene, secure architectural spaces of J. S. Bach’s music.

This is the first track of a recent album, the band are at their best with the two vivace tracks.

Album is available in a variety of formats, including vinyl and HD Flac at Nonesuch Records, which also plays a snippet of each track.
I’ve checked with Ólan that it’s available on TIDAL. lf someone competent could put up a link most obliged, Spotify too.

I’m always a bit wary of bits and pieces album, and think this one demonstrates the uneven quality that comes with the trio seeking out pieces for their strengths.
To my ears, the Trio Sonata (originally composed specifically for organ!) and Sonata for Viola da Gamba are the big hits, with the Prelude/Fugue 18, and Rectus/Inversus mirror from the Art of Fugue also worthwhile listens. The one part tracks are a question of taste.

The Stereophile review may be worth a read

I love the jazzy danciness of some tracks, this band can swing.
But without infusing the jazz in thick Gaulois flavoured smoke.

No need to listen to it all at once! Although Thile is the master of the mandolin, it may get to be too much of a good thing in one sitting. Early evening, beside a swimming pool, glass in hand, might be my choice of listening venue.



I found this a fairly hard listen. Firstly, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to much Bach, and particularly not arranged in this fashion, so I didn’t really have much of a frame of reference. On the plus side, the music is nicely recorded and skillfully played, and in places is very beautiful. On the downside, there is a lack of variety in the music. Even though we are presented with short pieces of music ranging from 1 to 6 minutes in length my attention started to wander by the 12th or 13th track. The very rigid instrumentation simply added to this sense of monotony. The introduction of a guitar in place of the mandolin was very welcome if only for variety. I did like listening to a style of music I am completely unaware of so I my investigate more in the future in an effort to learn something. The bonus of no flutes was somewhat offset by the presence of excessive mandolin* which I am not sure I really enjoy very much. I do like cello and double bass though.

Would I buy it? No.
Did I enjoy it? In places, but I’ve listened to it twice and that will do for a fair while.
A score? 3/5

*to be regarded with the same level of suspicion as the banjo and nearly as annoying.

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I had to ponder this album after a listen this morning. I love Bach. In fact, I love most Baroque so the fact that it was familiar is a given. I was listening to it in t’brewery (not the most congenial environment to subtlety), so impressions can be a bit skewed.

This arrangement was, however, uncomfortable to begin with. The Bach that I love can be subtle but mostly big and overblown. This was not. The gentle nature of the score caused me to sit back and concentrate.

It brought new light to auld clothes.

It is beautiful.

Vinyl ordered.


Sorry, I don’t really dig Bach or baroque.

I can appreciate that it’s historically important music. Plus I can appreciate if, say, you were born several hundred years ago…

Doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid.

I like it - very soothing…:+1: